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The case of post-conflict environments

Maha Ahmed
Franziska Gassmann


In this paper we develop a framework for analysing vulnerability in post-conflict environments following Sen?s  theory of entitlements, capabilities and functionings (Sen 1981, 1997). Such environments are characterised by at least four key functioning losses: human security, exchange freedom, social capital and infrastructure. These losses are the result of (i) reduced access to entitlements; and, (ii) a breakdown in capabilities, which are the processes by which entitlements are converted into functionings. In this context, the paper defines vulnerability as the combination of lack of entitlements, which reduces resilience against shocks and exposure to risk, which increases uncertainty about the future. Analysing vulnerability through its components allows us to identify it causes and the conduits of its manifestation. Using data from the 2005 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA), we apply the framework to Afghanistan. The aim is to develop a profile of households in Afghanistan that experience multidimensional vulnerability because this approach is more comprehensive than focusing on unidimensional measures such as income of consumption. Using a set of dimensions to measure functioning losses, the paper develops a system of ranks, assigned depending on the extent of multidimensional deprivation for each functioning, to divide Afghan households into categories of vulnerability. The paper identifies four categories: not vulnerable, less vulnerable, vulnerable and very vulnerable and finds that majority of Afghan households are vulnerable. The paper argues that while lack of entitlements is pervasive in Afghanistan, majority of households ssuffer from a combination of exposure to risk and lack of entitlements.

Publication Type(s)

Conference Paper

Ten Years of War Against Poverty Conference Papers

Conference: Ten Years of War Against Poverty


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